Pretend Camping at The Vine Preschool this past week was very exciting for our 3 to 5-year-olds. Their teacher chose this week’s theme to be Camping, and the students were asked to bring sleeping bags and miniature tents. I must admit that I initially thought that it was an overzealous endeavor but I am quite amazed and pleasantly surprised at the turnout that we received.
The children were excited and anticipating this week. They continued to remind their parents of the items that they needed to bring. As the days approached, I was quite hesitant because I did not know what to expect and I did not know whether or not we were overburdening the parents with this responsibility. I was also concerned about whether or not some of the children had sleeping bags or tents.
I never want to obligate parents with what could be an unnecessary expense. But what I found to be so wonderful was that there were parents who had multiple tents and multiple sleeping bags and without even asking, simply walked into the classroom with the items for children to use and or share together.
The first day was very exciting because the this was the first experience for some children and those children with experience in camping were very willing to help their fellow classmates as they set up their tent and spread out their sleeping bags. We were not sure if the children would even take a nap but to our shock and amazement they fell asleep as they normally would had they been on their cots.
The first day that I observed this I knew in an instant that this was a great idea! Initially, I did not want to overburden the parents with more things to think about when they already lead very busy lives and have a lot on their plate as it is. But what I was happy to see was that with enough advanced notice the parents were able to pull this off for their children and I think that this week will make a lasting memory in the minds of our students.
Camping Pretend Play for our Preschoolers
On the second day the children took part in pretend “roasting marshmallows” and when the teacher asked what they should use to pretend to make their fire, children yelled out things like, “We need wood and we should use sticks to make a fire.” So the teacher said, “Well what could we use in the classroom since we cannot really make a fire?” One of our five-year-olds thought about using our wooden unit blocks so they used them to create their “fire.”
The teacher provided plastic skewers to put their jumbo marshmallows on and they proceeded to pretend to “roasting marshmallows.” I posted some photos of the children camping on our Facebook page.
On the third day, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of our students had a pretend log with a lighted flame that their Mom brought in as well as a small lantern. The child was so excited to share this item with their friends. So with the help of their teacher who still had more marshmallows, the children proceeded to “roast marshmallows” once again over the pretend log.
What a pleasure it was to take part in observing this wonderful experience of camping pretend play . To see the happiness on the children’s faces was priceless. So I write all this to say that sometimes the child’s experiences are far more important than the process that it may take to make it happen.
While I was hesitant at first because I did not want to burden the parents what I am learning in this process is that it does not hurt to ask and if the parents cannot do it they will let us know. What I have also learned is that when we give enough advance notice, just about all things are possible.